The Desired Look: Nothing But Bones
by Rebecca Patton
It seems like every little girl dreams of becoming a model. They want to be thin and pretty like the models they see on television and in magazines. Often the desire becomes an obsession and young girls see “thinness” as being a needed characteristic. For most girls, the teenage years are spent trying to acquire this look. Females are trying diets and are exercising like it is a competition to see who can lose the most weight the quickest. The obsession of many young girls over their appearance or weight has led to a growing number of people who have developed an eating disorder to try to deal with their lack of self-esteem or other related problems.
Eating disorders are a serious health problem. Personal Counseling & Resources says that eating disorders “are characterized by a focus on body shape, weight, fat, food, and perfectionism and by feelings of powerlessness and low self-esteem.” Three of the most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating or compulsive eating disorder. According to Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, a person with anorexia “refuses to maintain normal body weight for age and height” and “weighs 85 percent or less than what is what is expected for age and height.” A person diagnosed with bulimia has several ways of getting rid of the calories such as binge eating, vomiting, laxative misuse, exercising, or fasting. The person might have a normal weight for their age and height unless anorexia is present. The signs of a compulsive eater include eating meals frequently, rapidly, and secretly. This person might also snack and nibble all day long. The compulsive eater tends to have a history of diet failures and may be depressed or obese (Anred.com).
There are many reasons that can contribute to the cause of eating disorders. One of the main reasons seems to be the obsession over every little pound a person is wearing. Sometimes low self-esteem or depression from any number of causes can usher in the eating disorder. Other times compulsive exercising can help shed the pounds but leave the enthused unhealthy looking.
There are other possible causes to this widely known health problem. The media bestows a great deal of beauty and thinness on television and magazines that are viewed by many people daily. Everyone has the desire to look like the actors and actresses do but, in reality, it just will not happen for most of us. Abuse, whether it be physical, emotional, or sexual, can also contribute to the development of an eating disorder (Something-Fishy.com). Such abuse to victims can leave them with a lack of trust and low self-esteem. An unfavorable relationship a person has with others is also a contributing factor to disordered eating habits. The world is so competitive that any mention from parents, siblings, peers, significant others, or co-workers about a person’s weight or appearance can lead to the onset of an eating disorder.
There really is no single reason that a person acquires an eating disorder. Many factors are considered when making a diagnosis for a person with this problem. Causes like the ones mentioned above play such an important role in eating disorders. Is it really so important that in order to look like the super models people are willing to give up food and starve themselves to death for a little satisfaction on the outside? The look of a person on the inside is what really matters.
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. “Definitions.” Welcome.
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<http://anred.com/defs.html> 19 Sept. 2000.
Personal Counseling and Resources. “Eating Disorders.” Personal Counseling
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Something Fishy. “Anorexia Nervosa.” Website on Eating Disorders. 5 Sept. 2000. <http://www. something-fishy.org/whatarethey/anorexia.php> 13 Sept. 2000.